We have all heard of this old saying: “Eat breakfast like that of a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a commoner or pauper.” Or maybe you haven’t. Instead, you experienced a good deal of scolding from your Mom for not finishing your bowl of cereal－even though you’re already running late for school.
Whichever the scenario, one thing is for sure: we’re brought up to eat breakfast before starting our day. Breakfast food companies built their empires on this notion and continued to perpetuate this belief in their ads, promotions, and packaging.
Most people seem to claim that it’s essential, but does it have merit? Unfortunately, there are A LOT of conflicting evidence about the topic. Some fitness experts say that it aids in weight loss, while researchers don’t think so. Some dietitians boast that it boosts your metabolism, while other medical practitioners say otherwise. Which is the truth?
The Truth about Eating Breakfast
It all boils down to research. By doing controlled trials, researchers can prove (or disprove) known facts attributed to specific claims. In this case, about eating your morning meal.
Can breakfast promote weight loss?
In a randomized controlled trial published in American Society for Nutrition, they tested this health claim by splitting 309 overweight and obese participants into two groups: one who would eat their breakfasts, and one who wouldn’t. Changes in weight were recorded.
In the course of the 16-week study, they found out that there is no significant correlation between eating breakfast and weight loss. Both groups were actually able to shed some pounds, so the morning meal is not precisely the contributing factor.
This significant weight loss results pushed a group of researchers to find out the reason why breakfast-skippers lose weight just as much as the breakfast eaters. The results were, to be honest, common sense. A typical breakfast contains about 400-650 Calories; skipping your morning meal means skipping this amount, resulting in lower daily caloric intake overall.
But why do some say that morning meal-skipping might make you hungrier in the morning? A study proved that while it could push you to eat a bigger lunch, the calories won’t shoot up as much as if you eat that cereal instead－Yes, even if you plan to eat an afternoon snack on top of it.
So if you want to lose weight by dieting, taking out breakfast might help you.
Can breakfast boost my metabolism in the morning?
A study published by the same researchers above also tried to prove or disprove the claim that breakfast can help jump-start your day and your metabolism after an overnight fast. Their findings revealed that metabolic rates, cholesterol levels, and blood glucose profile is the same as those who don’t eat in the morning.
One caveat in the study: those who had their morning meal actually burned the equivalent calories of that same meal as they hustle and bustle in the kitchen, making them more active and alert throughout the day.
The Good Side of the Bacon and Eggs Benedict
Despite the evidence, there’s still hope for breakfast lovers. Noshing early in the morning has its benefits as well aside from the fact that it’s socially acceptable to eat fried foods during this time of day.
Breakfast vs. Cardiovascular diseases
Two separate studies confirmed that breakfast could reduce your risk of Type-2 diabetes and atherosclerosis (clogging and hardening of arteries, an early symptom of heart disease) by as much as 20%. That is relatively significant, considering the increased prevalence of said illnesses as years pass by. This is also good news for people who are predisposed to these due to their genetics and lifestyle.
Breakfast can make you smarter!
At least, for the kids. Numerous research claimed that kids aged 13 years and below who eat their morning meal before going to school do well in their academic performance and overall behavior compared to those who don’t.
A study also confirmed that kindergarten breakfast-eaters have relatively higher IQ scores than their breakfast-skipper counterparts. This proves that morning meals can literally make you smarter－and that our mothers know best, after all.
The Verdict over Morning Meals
The question of whether or not to have breakfast all boils down to what works best for you. If eating a morning meal helps you become more alert, energetic, and full throughout the day, no study of any kind should stop you from doing so. Just remember always to choose food items that can give the nutrients you need.